Surgical Technician

PALS vs Surgical Technician

PALS vs Surgical Technician

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When it comes to choosing a career in the medical field, there are a plethora of options available. Two popular choices are becoming a PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support) provider or a Surgical Technician. Both roles play an essential part in the healthcare industry, but they differ in terms of job responsibilities, education, and career outlook. In this blog post, we will explore the differences between a PALS and a Surgical Technician and help you make an informed decision about which path is right for you.

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What is a PALS and Surgical Technician?


A PALS provider is a healthcare professional who specializes in the care of critically ill or injured children. They are trained to assess, diagnose, and treat pediatric patients in emergency situations. PALS providers work in various healthcare settings, such as hospitals, clinics, and ambulatory care centers.

Surgical Technician

A Surgical Technician, also known as a Surgical Technologist or Operating Room Technician, is a vital member of the surgical team. They assist surgeons, nurses, and other healthcare professionals during surgical procedures. Surgical Technicians are responsible for ensuring that the operating room is properly equipped, sterile, and organized. They also assist with patient positioning, surgical instrument handling, and wound closure.

Difference between a PALS and a Surgical Technician

Although both PALS providers and Surgical Technicians work in the medical field, their roles and responsibilities differ significantly. Here are some key differences between the two:

  1. Patient Population
  • PALS providers primarily work with pediatric patients, from newborns to adolescents.
  • Surgical Technicians assist during surgical procedures for patients of all ages, including adults and children.
  1. Scope of Practice
  • PALS providers focus on emergency pediatric care, including resuscitation, airway management, and cardiac life support.
  • Surgical Technicians have a broader scope of practice, which includes preparing the operating room, sterilizing equipment, and assisting with surgical procedures.
  1. Work Environment
  • PALS providers can work in various healthcare settings, such as emergency departments, pediatric intensive care units, and pediatric wards.
  • Surgical Technicians primarily work in operating rooms, but they may also find employment in labor and delivery units, outpatient surgery centers, and ambulatory care facilities.
  1. Team Collaboration
  • PALS providers often work as part of a team, collaborating with physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, and other healthcare professionals.
  • Surgical Technicians are an integral part of the surgical team, working closely with surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, and surgical assistants.

PALS vs Surgical Technician: Job Description


The job description of a PALS provider includes:

  • Assessing and managing critically ill or injured pediatric patients.
  • Administering appropriate medications and interventions to stabilize the patient.
  • Collaborating with the healthcare team to develop and implement a treatment plan.
  • Monitoring the patient's vital signs and response to treatment.
  • Communicating with the patient's family and providing emotional support.

Surgical Technician

The job description of a Surgical Technician includes:

  • Preparing the operating room by sterilizing and arranging surgical instruments and equipment.
  • Assisting with patient positioning and draping.
  • Handing instruments and supplies to the surgeon during the procedure.
  • Anticipating the surgeon's needs and maintaining a sterile field.
  • Assisting with wound closure and applying dressings.

PALS vs Surgical Technician: Education and Training

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To become a PALS provider, the following education and training are typically required:

  • Completion of a healthcare-related degree, such as nursing or paramedicine.
  • Certification in Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) through an accredited organization, such as the American Heart Association.
  • Ongoing continuing education to maintain PALS certification.

Surgical Technician

To become a Surgical Technician, the following education and training are typically required:

  • Completion of a Surgical Technology program, which can be a diploma, certificate, or associate degree program.
  • Clinical training in a healthcare facility, where students gain hands-on experience in the operating room.
  • Certification as a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA).
  • Ongoing continuing education to maintain CST certification.

PALS vs Surgical Technician: Career Outlook and Salary


The career outlook for PALS providers is generally positive. As healthcare facilities continue to expand pediatric services, the demand for PALS providers is expected to grow. The average salary for PALS providers varies depending on factors such as experience, education, and geographic location. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for all healthcare practitioners and technical occupations was $68,190 as of May 2020.

Surgical Technician

The career outlook for Surgical Technicians is also promising. With advancements in surgical technology and an aging population, the demand for Surgical Technicians is projected to increase. The average salary for Surgical Technicians varies depending on factors such as experience, certification, and geographic location. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for Surgical Technologists was $49,040 as of May 2020.

Final Thoughts

Choosing a career in the medical field is a significant decision, and it's essential to consider your interests, skills, and long-term goals. Both PALS and Surgical Technician roles offer rewarding opportunities to contribute to patient care and make a difference in people's lives. Whether you prefer working with pediatric patients in emergency situations or being a crucial member of the surgical team, there is a path that suits your aspirations. Take the time to research, speak with professionals in the field, and consider your personal preferences before making a decision.

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Lea Legaspi
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Lea Legaspi
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